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About the project

This website emerges from a joint research project between the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra and the National Museum of Australia.

In 2011 Joanna Henryks and Bethaney Turner from the University of Canberra approached the Museum proposing a joint research project exploring the institution’s rich collection of historical artefacts associated with agricultural shows. They started working with curators George Main and Kirsten Wehner, from the People and the Environment program, developing a concept that aimed to trace how agricultural shows, past and present, have helped shape understandings of the relationships between food, people and place.

The production team recording sound for the website.
At the 2012 Royal Canberra Show, sound engineer Andrew Hogan records a discussion between Bethaney Turner and Melissa Dede’s son Luciano, about Luciano’s entries of garden produce. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

The project team began delving into the Museum’s National Historical Collection, identifying objects that seemed particularly illuminating in relation to agricultural shows and food production. With the help of the Royal National Capital Agricultural Society, we also then contacted a range of talented backyard and community gardeners who had a long history of exhibiting produce at the Royal Canberra Show. We conducted interviews with the growers in early 2012, with Andrew Hogan recording sound and Museum staff Jason McCarthy and George Serras capturing images.

The 2012 Canberra show provided an opportunity to see and photograph the growers and their judges with their displays. Museum web manager Tikka Wilson and multimedia producer Martin Scott worked with the team to develop this website, which was launched at the 2013 Royal Canberra Show.

Our sincere thanks go to the people who contributed their time, energy and enthusiasm to this project. We particularly appreciate the contributions of the growers who opened their gardens and their lives to us, and are grateful for the assistance offered by Royal National Capital Agricultural Society staff.

Six community gardeners and curator Kirsten Wehner in front of a produce display at the Canberra show.
Backyard and community gardeners Cheryl Grgurinovic, Tracey and Brett King, Melissa Dede, Panta Simeonovic and Chris Hunter listen as Kirsten Wehner, Head Curator of the People and the Environment program at the National Museum of Australia, launches the Urban Farming and the Agricultural Show website, Harvest Hall, Royal Canberra Show, February 2013. Photograph by Jason McCarthy, National Museum of Australia.

University of Canberra

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